December 27th 2008 to January 11th, 2009 – 2,900 kilometres
There was no time to get my rain gear on, the sky grew dark and the rain came without warning. The rain drops were the size of golf balls and showed no signs of stopping. My feet were swimming in their shoes and every stitch of clothing was soaked straight trough to my skin. I did not think it was possible to get this wet. At least it was a warm rain and I was not shivering. I could not see far in front of me and knew I needed to find a safe place to stop the motorcycle. No longer was I concerned about staying dry, too late for that, I just wanted off the now slippery road. I was concerned about hitting a cow or water buffalo that frequently wandered on the roads. Looking up the road there is a sign “Hotel” and I carefully drive towards it. Approaching I can’t believe my luck, right beside the hotel there is another large sign “HONDA”, the hotel is right next to a Honda dealer. In one spot the two things I really need, a dry warm place to stay and a chance to get the motorcycle’s chain oiled and tightened. Seeing us pull in one of the hotel staff motions to drive around to the back of the hotel. Once under the covered parking area, the rain stops. As fast as the rain started it stopped. This type of rain was typical in the 2,900km journey in Northern Vietnam.
This was my first motorcycle adventure. My brother and I rented Honda 125cc dirt bikes out of Hanoi and took off on our own to discover Vietnam. I had travelled to Vietnam over the prior few years on business trips, but this was my first time as a tourist. What an adventure it turned out to be, we laughed everyday, met incredibly friendly and helpful people and visited many great sites. We never had a single problem with the police, finding a decent hotel or with the quality of food. We both loved Vietnam and promised ourselves that we would return.
Our bikes were rented from www.offroadvietnam.com they offer rentals, guided adventure tours, and sell bikes as well. Off-road Vietnam is located in Hanoi.
The best hotel we stayed at in Vietnam was the Hong Thien Hotel in Hue. It is not a fancy place, nor does it have a lot of amenities. It had the nicest and most helpful staff of all the places we stayed. You will feel a real family atmosphere when you stay here. http://www.hotels-in-vietnam.com/hotels/Hue/hongthien_hotel.html